This week I am writing to you from Sarasota, Florida...visiting some old family friends from when I lived in Hong Kong. I had fun snapping photos at the beach on Lido Key, (above) while the kids were picking up seashells. Later that day we went to the Ringling Museum and Estate, and I enjoyed seeing the effect that one person (like John Ringling) could have on a community.
The circus had a reputation for being a place where creative misfits could land...gracefully or spectacularly. There are so many interesting aspects to circuses in the early 20th century, which you might have seen in the movie " Water for Elephants". (or you might have read the book!)
If you are drawn to the costumes, the artwork, the animals, the lifestyle of the circus, then visiting the Ringling Estate and Museum in Sarasota is a must.
Having visited Venice a few months ago, my 3rd visit to the Ca' d'Zan Mansion was a bit of a revelation. Now that I have seen the Doge's Palace and the Cà d’Oro which inspired Mable Ringling to build and decorate their own palace, I had a bit of déjà vu as the water of the bay lapped onto the marble steps that lead to this Venetian Gothic confection.
One thing's for sure: this place has one of the greatest concentrations of 1920's artwork and creativity in the US... between the circus museum, the mansion, the grounds and rose gardens, the art museum, the theater and the arts school...not to mention the inspiring views on 20 acres of waterfront property...it is a real jewelbox of style and beauty.